Decision 2014

Lt. Gov. Candidates Release New TV Ads

The candidates for lieutenant governor released dueling television ads Tuesday. Sen. Dan Patrick took aim at his Democratic opponent, with a 30-second spot called “Liberal Leticia.” The ad highlights what Patrick calls Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s ‘liberal pro-tax record.’

“Senator Patrick sponsored one of the biggest tax cuts in America during the recession,” said campaign strategist, Allen Blakemore. “Patrick has helped Texas lead the nation in job creation through conservative principles – a clear contrast to Van de Putte’s job-killing policies.”

You can watch the ad, here:

Democratic Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, meanwhile, released her own new TV ad, called “Rape is Always Rape.”

“Shame on Dan Patrick. He turned his back on rape survivors when Texas had a massive backlog of rape kits,” Van de Putte said in a statement. “His reckless words and actions threaten the progress Texas women have made. Dan Patrick is dangerous for women, and wrong for Texas.”

You can watch the ad, here.

State Permitted to Enforce Voter ID Law in November Election

Republicans are declaring victory, after a federal appeals court ruled that the state’s voter ID law be in place for the November election. The 5th Circuit’s ruling means that Texans will need to bring one of seven forms of acceptable identification to cast a ballot.

Last week, a federal court in Corpus Christi declared the state’s voter ID law unconstitutional, likening it to a modern day poll tax.
Today’s ruling does not deal with the merits of the law itself, which is still under appeal.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor, had requested that SB 14 remain in effect for this election, while the state appeals the lower court’s ruling. Tuesday, the appeals court agreed. The ruling reads, in part:

“This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election. The judgment substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts.”

The appeals court also cited U.S. Supreme Court cases where the justices have been hesitant to “allow such eleventh-hour judicial changes to election laws.”

Abbott Compares Davis to Obama in New Ad

Republican Greg Abbott is hitting back against Democrat Wendy Davis — and President Obama — in his latest TV ad. The new spot started airing statewide Tuesday.

“President Obama may not be on the ballot in November, but his failed policies are reflected in Sen. Wendy Davis’ agenda for Texas,” said spokesman Matt Hirsch. “It’s clear that President Obama has no better ally in Texas than his ideological twin, Sen. Davis.”

Abbott’s new ad comes as fallout continues from Sen. Davis’ controversial ad released Friday. The ad accuses Abbott of collecting millions from a lawsuit after an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down — while blocking similar lawsuits in court.

Davis defended the ad Monday at an event with several disability rights activists and supporters. She said the ad is not about Abbott’s disability, it’s about his hypocrisy.

Democrats are also demanding that Abbott campaign apologize for a statement from a campaign adviser calling one of Davis’ supporters a ‘prop.’ “Greg Abbott’s hypocrisy extends to his staff,” said Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer. “Referring to a courageous young man as a prop because you don’t like what he has to say is disgusting.”

Mike Collier: “I’m an Accountant. Not a Farmer”

Comptroller candidate Mike Collier’s new TV ad makes a pretty clear point — he’s an accountant, not a farmer. The ad is an attack on his Republican opponent Sen. Glenn Hegar, who helps run his family’s farm and ranch operation outside of Houston when the Legislature is not in session.

In an email, Collier said, “Glenn Hegar likes to talk about what a great farmer he is, even though it has nothing to do with an office that’s all about accounting and revenue forecasts.” The ad shows Collier riding a tractor and trying to herd cattle. “I thought I’d try my hand at farming to drive our point home, and the results weren’t pretty,” he said.

You can watch the ad here:

Sen. Cornyn Calls on Davis to Pull Down Controversial Ad

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is joining a rising chorus of Republicans outraged by Sen. Wendy Davis’ new attack ad. The ad focuses on a multi-million dollar settlement Republican Greg Abbott collected after an accident left him wheelchair-bound. It calls into question cases where Davis alleges Abbott fought against victims in similar situations.

Sen. Cornyn Friday called on the Davis campaign to pull the ad. He issued this statement:

“Everyone knows that politics can be a tough business but sometimes certain things are way over the line and running an attack ad on a serious medical accident suffered by your opponent is one of them. It’s my hope that Wendy Davis will immediately remove this ad from the airwaves and apologize to Attorney General Abbott because this line of attack has no place in civilized political discourse.”

Cornyn also called attention to a Washington Post article, calling the ad “one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see.”

Abbott: Davis Ad Represents Historic Low

Attorney General Greg Abbott is firing back after Sen. Wendy Davis released a new TV ad calling Abbott’s legal work with accident victims into question. Davis’ ad started airing in major markets Friday. It accuses Abbott of collecting millions from a lawsuit after an accident left him paralyzed from the waist down — while blocking similar lawsuits in court.

“It is challenging to find language strong enough to condemn Sen. Davis’ disgusting television ad, which represents a historic low for someone seeking to represent Texans,” an Abbott spokesman said. “Sen. Davis’ ad shows a disturbing lack of judgment from a desperate politician, and completely disqualifies her from seeking higher office in Texas.” 

The Abbott campaign is also disputing accusations made in the ad accusing Abbott of defending a surgeon accused of operating while under the influence of drugs.  Abbott has argued he was defending the state’s medical malpractice laws, not the surgeon himself.

Davis Campaign Releases Scathing New TV Ad

Sen. Wendy Davis is criticizing her Republican opponent for collecting a settlement following the accident that left him paralyzed — and then fighting in court against similar cases for other Texans. In a press release, the Davis campaign accuses Attorney General Greg Abbott of “seeking justice for himself” and then spending a “career denying justice to other victims.”



Poll Shows Gap Closing in Governor’s Race

Texas Republicans continue to lead in statewide election polls, but Sen. Wendy Davis is gaining some ground in the race for governor.

A Texas Lyceum Poll released Wednesday shows Davis trailing Republican Greg Abbott by single digits. Of those polled, 49 percent of people said they’d vote for Abbott, with 40 percent of respondents saying they’d choose Davis.

The poll shows Davis leads with African-American and Hispanic voters, while Abbott continues to poll ahead with independents.

The Lyceum Poll shows a much larger gap in the race for lieutenant governor. Republican Dan Patrick continues to hold a sizable double-digit lead over Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, with 47 percent to her 33 percent.

Hegar, Collier Agree to Oct. 29 Debate

The candidates for Texas comptroller will sit down for their first televised debate on Time Warner Cable News. Republican Sen. Glenn Hegar and Democrat Mike Collier have agreed to a half-hour round-table discussion in our Capital Tonight studio on Oct. 29.

The candidates will face off as fresh questions are raised about the state’s spending practices. Notably, the new comptroller will have to answer difficult questions about the state’s Major Events Trust Fund. A San Antonio Express-News investigation revealed that the state started doling out $250 million in incentives to the Circuit of the Americas, without a formal written application in place.

Collier has argued the Trust Fund should be moved to another agency, while Hegar has said there needs to be more transparency and reforms need to be made.

The debate airs live at 7 p.m. and will be seen in the Austin, San Antonio and Waco television markets. It will be moderated by Paul Brown.


Davis Demands Investigation into Abbott’s Role in the Texas Enterprise Fund

Sen. Wendy Davis is calling for an independent investigation into Attorney General Greg Abbott’s role in the Texas Enterprise Fund. The call comes on the heels of a scathing audit that revealed more more than $170 million was awarded to businesses that never submitted an application.

The Davis campaign is accusing Abbott of using his office to cover up the transition of the funds by hiding documents and denying open records requests that would have proven Abbott knew the applications never existed.

“Greg Abbott has been Attorney General throughout the entire existence of the Enterprise Fund, and he was responsible for acting as its watchdog, monitoring its accounts and recovering misspent money,” Davis said. “For that entire time, Mr. Abbott did not recover one dime of taxpayer dollars for the Enterprise Fund.”

Davis is also demanding that Abbott return the $1.4 million in campaign contributions he received from grant recipients.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Attorney General’s office maintains Abbott was following state law because releasing confidential applications could put companies at a competitive disadvantage.